Literary Locations: Indianapolis Bookish Sites

I don’t know about you, but for me, this quarantine has been a drag.  Staying holed up inside my house all day every day has taken a toll on me, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.  With that in mind, I decided to play virtual tour guide once again.  Inspired by my last bookish tour around Indianapolis, and even more by my trip to New Orleans, I decided to rock out to some literary tunes, and see what other bookish sites I could come across.  I’ll kick it off with a scholastic location, then we’ll check out a few places that are more social in nature.

First up, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI.  No, I didn’t just hit Caps Lock and pound on the keyboard.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Indianapolis area, IUPUI is a satellite campus for Indiana University and Purdue University that is located in Indianapolis…hence, IUPUI.  Thanks to a very large and generous donation of Bradbury’s artifacts by his surviving family, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is a research center within the Institute for American Thought, through Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts, in Indianapolis.  A great exhibit this center features is a recreation of Bradbury’s basement office and library from his Los Angeles home, complete with his original writing desk, painting table, bookshelves, and chairs.

Books & Brews – the originator, or as they refer to it, the mothership.  This establishment has created a market and has seen enormous growth throughout the region in a short amount of time, proving their motto of being a place for those without a place.  Books & Brews has been featured in numerous articles and stories, both locally and nationally, for being a genuinely great place to spend some time.  Play a board game, try a literary-themed micro brew on tap, explore the food menu, exchange a book you’ve already read for one that’s on their shelves, or just peruse their library of new and used books for purchase.  Since 2014, the brand has expanded with ten franchise locations around Indiana and neighboring states.  Hell, they even bought a brewery to help support their mission!  I could go on and on about this incredible concept, but I’ll stop here and simply encourage you to check it out for yourselves.

Indy Reads Books – Physical bookstores had a rough run over the last decade (thanks internet and Kindle), but there are still plenty of options out there.  What makes this one so special is their social activism to fight illiteracy in the Indianapolis community.  The independent local bookstore, Indy Reads Books, fund the non-profit organization Indy Reads, whose goal is to combat adult illiteracy in the Indianapolis area.  They are also welcoming to local authors, always willing to host signing events, book readings, and stocking titles from local writers.

This next one is a double dipper.  There’s a whole neighborhood on Indy’s east side, Irvington, named after writer Washington Irving.  But it’s difficult to take a picture of a whole geographic area, so I needed a specific representation of the community.  What better place to use than local eatery, The Legend.  This diner and cafe leans heavily on the inspiration for the neighborhood, utilizing The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tale that made its namesake famous.

Mari Evans mural – Located just a block away from the Kurt Vonnegut mural on Mass Ave.  Evans came to fame for her simplistic, lyrical poetry and straight-forward themes.  She received a litany of literary awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

Central Library – Every city has libraries.  Indy has quite a few.  But none match the beauty of this gem in the heart of the city.  This library offers photogenic angles at every turn, is brimming with books, and has meeting space to spare.  It also houses a copy of the finest local literature; a small title by yours truly, called Crossroads.

Thirsty Scholar – By all accounts, the reviews for this place were always pretty positive.  The key word in that sentence is “were”.  I was always tempted to check this place out for some writing sessions and potentially inquiring about some signing events, but alas, it closed abruptly so no dice.  At first glance it looks like this place still functions, as the exterior remains and the interior lights still shine, but unfortunately, the doors stay locked.

And that concludes my bookish tour of literary locations around Indianapolis.  There’s no doubt I missed some places, so keep an eye out for round two sometime in the future!  Until then, in the words of Indy Reads Books, “Do good. Read more.”

Thank you, that is all.

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